Small Acts of Defiance

Written by Michelle Wright
Review by Christine Childs

Based in Nazi-occupied Paris, Small Acts of Defiance is award-winning Australian short-story writer Michelle Wright’s debut novel. Wright lived in Paris for eleven years and conducted extensive research into French World War Two events and locations.

Lucie is a teenager wrenched from her life in Australia after a family tragedy. Homeless and penniless, her French-born mother insists their only option is to relocate to Paris and throw themselves at the mercy of Lucie’s uncle, an authoritarian semi-recluse with a secret life.

Arriving just as the Second World War spreads into France, Lucie is plunged into a strange and confronting world of fear and deprivation. She takes refuge in art, sketching the faces and scenes around her. As the Nazis’ campaign against Jewish citizens’ freedom and rights escalates, Lucie is drawn into a dangerous world of underground activities, with tragic results.

Small Acts of Defiance is a beautifully written, engrossing story of hope and despair, with believable characters forced to fight for their physical and moral survival.